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The emergence of compositional grammars in artificial codes

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  • Hong, Fuhai
  • Lim, Wooyoung
  • Zhao, Xiaojian

Abstract

This paper experimentally explores how compositional grammars in artificial codes emerge and are sustained. In a communication game with no conflict of interest, the sender sends a message that is an arbitrary string from available symbols with no prior meaning to indicate an abstract geometrical figure to the receiver. We find strong evidence from the laboratory for the emergence of compositional grammars in the subjects' common codes that facilitate learning efficiency. Moreover, when there is a scarcity of symbols in the repertoire, a few groups in our experiments developed languages with positional compositionality, meaning the same symbol has different interpretations depending on its position in a string, whereas some other groups developed language structures that are not compositional but still efficient in communication.

Suggested Citation

  • Hong, Fuhai & Lim, Wooyoung & Zhao, Xiaojian, 2017. "The emergence of compositional grammars in artificial codes," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 255-268.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:102:y:2017:i:c:p:255-268
    DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2016.12.009
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Blume, Andreas, et al, 1998. "Experimental Evidence on the Evolution of Meaning of Messages in Sender-Receiver Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1323-1340, December.
    2. Blume, Andreas, 2000. "Coordination and Learning with a Partial Language," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 1-36, November.
    3. Rubinstein,Ariel, 2000. "Economics and Language," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521789905.
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    6. Roberto A. Weber & Colin F. Camerer, 2003. "Cultural Conflict and Merger Failure: An Experimental Approach," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(4), pages 400-415, April.
    7. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1996. "Why Are Certain Properties of Binary Relations Relatively More Common in Natural Language?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 343-355, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Fuhai Hong & Xiaojian Zhao, 2017. "The emergence of language differences in artificial codes," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(4), pages 924-945, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Communication games; Economics of language; Experimental semiotics; Compositional grammar;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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